Firefighters prepare to save lives one current at a time

Firefighters prepare for water rescue training on the Missouri River. (Kyreon Lee/KRCG 13)

Whether it's by land or water, firefighters are prepared for rescue.

To ensure they are prepared, training is required.

The Jefferson City bridge stretches more than half a mile in length. Just underneath the bridge lies Wilson's Serenity Point on the Missouri River.

Firefighters from Jefferson City, Columbia and Marshall whizzed across the water to demonstrate rescue, go through unique obstacles and learn basic boat operations.

Columbia Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Jenkins said the river gives a more realistic feel for training.

"It's a moving water, it's got some obstacles in the water that really will benefit our new firefighters to help build that foundation for the future," he said.

Jenkins said this is basic training and the longer the firefighters are with the department, the more they learn.

"It teaches them some basic fundamentals how to operate the boat in those currents, giving them that knowledge here in a training atmosphere before the first time they ever do it on a real emergency," he said.

Will Lyons, a probationary firefighter for the Columbia Fire Department, said March 3, 2000 influenced him to get where he is today. Lyons was young when his home in St. Louis caught fire.

"I almost lost my parents. My mom and my dad. And had it not been for the efforts of those firefighters in protecting our home and getting my mom and my dad out, I wouldn't have them here today," Lyons said.

He said the best part of being with department is knowing that everyone is one big team.

Editor's Note: The length of the Missouri River Bridge has been corrected.

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